Tuesday on the Sports Bash, one of the Phillies mailbag questions from the 97.3 ESPN audience inquired as to who might be considered "untouchable" as the trade deadline approaches.  Third baseman Alec Bohm was one name mentioned.  The other was pitcher Spencer Howard.  Howard is rising up the ranks in the Phillies system.

Last night, the Reading Eagle reported that a promotion to Double-A was imminent.  After nine starts at Class-A Advanced Clearwater, Howard is being promoted to Reading.  Todd Zolecki of MLB.com confirmed that Howard is indeed headed to Double-A and start tonight in New Hampshire against the Fisher Cats.

While Howard was ranked number 5 in the Phillies system this season's MLB Pipeline rankings, he may be closer to being considered the number two or number three prospect in the Phillies system.  While rankings had Bohm at 37 and pitcher Adonis Medina number 76 in all of baseball and Howard ranked below them, a dominant performance at Class-A has increased his status to near-untouchable at trade time.

The Phillies could potentially trade Medina, also at Double-A in their quest to add a starting pitcher.  That could be easier for the club to do knowing that Howard is on the rise.  At 23 years old as of next week, Howard could continue to rise through the system quickly if he pitches with similar dominance at Reading.

Howard was 2-1 with a 1.79 earned run average in his nine Clearwater starts.

Read more on Howard in this piece by Baseball Ross back in April.  Ross felt Howard to be the best pitcher in the system, even after one Clearwater start.

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